FC Cincinnati traveled to the Harrisburg City Islanders to play their third game in eight-day stretch. The teamsheet debuted several players receiving their first start of the season. Midfielder Antoine Hoppenot and left back Derek Luke received starts along with Omar Cummings (a second striker) getting the nod in place of center midfielder Ross Tomaselli. These may be attributed to rest, but also FCC strayed from its traditional 4-3-3. They used what’s known as a bucket 4-4-2 as the wingers play higher than the center midfielders. The starting center mids (Bone & Walker) stay in more a defensive role hoping to allow for stronger play through the center of the field rather than to the wings. Most importantly, Omar Cummings was inserted into a role in which he could play alongside Sean Okoli. This had been a rare situation in the past, due to Cummings’ injury early on in the season. FC Cincinnati managed the roster well, by using all five subs. This has been a rarity at the beginning of Harkes’ tenure with the club.
FC Cincinnati began the match with some promising long balls up the field. Each ball created movement that led to great positions in the attacking 18. By the 17th minute, the keepers had already combined for 7 saves; 4 to Hildebrandt and 3 to Noble.
In the 17th minute, Paul Wilson sent a through ball, on the ground, that cut through the FC Cincinnati defense. The ball landed at the feet of Craig Foster who slotted it past the keeper for the first goal of the match. The goal accounted for Paul Wilson’s third assist, and Craig Foster’s third goal of the season respectively. From that point, until halftime, FCC carried the same narrative that they had from the start of the match. While chances weren’t as frequent, they found space to create them, but failed to get a shot on goal in many of those instances. Ultimately, nothing made its way into the net.
After halftime, the substitutions began. Evan Lee entered the match for Harrison Delbridge, who had played every minute of the three game stretch until that point. Andrew Wiedeman came in for Hoppenot as well. In this half, FCC used all five substitutions allotted, within 30 minutes of time. Pat McMahon, Corben Bone, and Omar Cummings were taken off so Tyler Polak (63’), Luke Spencer (64’), and Eric Stevenson (74’) could make way.
In the 52nd minute, Derek Luke drew a foul just outside of the box providing a free kick opportunity that was poised to end up in back of the net. Sean Okoli took the free kick and his effort went off of the crossbar. Had the cracker of a shot been roughly a foot lower, it would have been the equalizer for FC Cincinnati.
Largely, the match was made in the 81st minute in a stretch of two corners from FC Cincinnati. A ricochet from one of the corners landed at the feet of left winger Jimmy McLaughlin. He was awaiting the rebound at the top of the box and sent the ball into the back of the net for the equalizer. For a stretch, the teams played urgently in order take away 3 points rather than one, but no significant chances were had, and ultimately the sides went home with a draw. Victory is always the goal, but with 3 matches in 8 days, a point on the road is nothing to be disappointed about.
FC Cincinnati: (4-4-2) Hildebrandt (GK); McMahon (63′ Polak), Delbridge (46′ Lee), Nicholson, Luke; Hoppenot (46′ Wiedeman), Walker, Bone (74′ Stevenson), McLaughlin; Cummings (64′ Spencer), Okoli
Harrisburg City Islanders: (4-4-2) Noble (GK); McLaws, Johnson, Doyle, Shaffer, Wilson, Warshaw, Hughes, Barril, Wheeler, Foster (74′ Jankouskas)
– 40’ Hoppenot – Yellow – Time Wasting
Harrisburg City Islanders
– 83’ Pfeffer – Yellow – Bringing down Okoli
– 87’ Hughes – Yellow – Holding back FC Cincinnati winger McLaughlin
– 88’ Barril – Yellow- Late challenge
Harrisburg City Islanders
Looking Ahead to Pittsburgh:
FC Cincinnati comes home Saturday to face the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. Pittsburgh has yet to win a match in 6 matches and is second to last in the Eastern Conference with only 3 points. The Riverhounds took a huge blow last week when Romeo Parkes was sent off. Parkes has accounted for 5 of Pittsburgh’s 7 goals. Following the red card, Parkes gave NYRB II’s Karl Ouimette a studs up kick in the back that will resulted in a league suspension and the termination of his contract from the Riverhounds. FCC will be fully rested and an already weak Riverhounds side has gotten weaker. Things seem to be in Cincinnati’s favor for May 14th. You can keep with FC Cincinnati at CincinnatiSoccerTalk.com Cincinnati Soccer Talk on Facebook or @cincysoccertalk on twitter.
Video of Parkes’ red card:
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